No matter what you call them—shutdowns, turnarounds & outages (STO)—they are a time that manufacturers and producers must race the clock to repair and restore their production equipment to minimize financial losses from lost production.
Valves are some of the critical assets that need to be checked and serviced. They touch the process directly and face the wear and tear caused by the fluids flowing through them over time.
In a Valve magazine article, Intelligent Servicing of Valves During Aging Plant Shutdowns (p. 30), Emerson’s Jodi Johnson and Navè Orgad describe the critical role of STO planning, digital & mobile tools, and supplier relationships in delivering a successful STO project.
Jodi and Navè open the article noting that top performers in the industry:
…spend less on maintenance costs, experience much less lost production and have higher mechanical availability and lower turnaround downtime. To accomplish this requires planning and the proper tools.
They note that more than half the plants around the globe are more than 20 years old. Not only must equipment be repaired or replaced, some must be modernized. Like an older car as it ages, these plants are subject to a greater risk of unplanned shutdowns, increased operational expenses, more stringent emissions regulations and lack of information from missing measurements.
Jodi and Navè cite Asset Performance Network research that found:
…two-thirds of STOs are unsuccessful, meaning they result in cost overruns and lost production.
Manufacturers can avoid falling into this large group:
…with help from qualified suppliers through data-driven planning, use of mobility tools and asset integrity management.
With mobility tools, plant personnel can:
…optimize the time and budget allocated for STOs. This is because the mobility tools eliminate or reduce the need for recordkeeping while equipping plant personnel with an easier, more efficient way to store, access and analyze the data.
Scoping an STO starts with a walk down. Walk-down applications:
…offered by many reputable suppliers leverage mobile workflow technology to improve asset data collection from a variety of devices.
Collecting this information for the valves and other plant assets in a digital format allows data-driven decision making and prioritization of the equipment to be serviced during the STO.
Read the article for more ways to track and manage assets through asset tagging performed during the walk down process. Also, how to develop an efficient schedule in the shutdown planning process. The article also shares two case studies where these planning and mobility tools have been applied for a successful STO.
Jodi and Navè conclude:
End users that adopt best a practices approach to intelligent servicing of valves can better achieve STO goals and secure a solid position as a top quartile performer. Effective planning and thoroughly defining the scope of work between the user and a chosen supplier are keys to STO success.
Visit the Shutdowns, Turnaround and Outages section of the Emerson.com website to learn more about how these projects can be successfully planned and executed. You can also connect and interact with other valve and reliability lifecycle services experts in the Valves and Operate & Maintain groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.